Rockledge Florida, USA
In our day, on the fourth Thursday of November each year, America celebrates Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is a day when many Americans give thanks to God for guiding and preserving the Pilgrims so that they could settle as a free people. These Pilgrims and the settlers who came after them laid the foundations of the nation that God, in foreknowledge, had designed and has raised up in a land of promise, choice above all other lands, an inheritance for all who will serve Him (see Ether 2:8-12).
America is the one nation whose Constitution was divinely inspired and has endured over two-hundred forty years of fierce opposition, both from without and from within her population (see Doctrine and Covenants 98).
America is the one nation established and preserved by the hand of God for the express purpose of allowing the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to take root and spread throughout the earth in the last dispensation, the dispensation of the fullness of times (see 3 Nephi 21:5-8; 22-29; Mormon 5:15-21; Doctrine and Covenants 38:33).
During recent generations, in the United States of America, we may contrast the day of Thanksgiving with the very next day, which has come to be known as Black Friday. Black Friday is the express opposite of a day of gratitude (see 2 Nephi 2:11-16; Alma 13:1-4).
The very principles we celebrate on Thanksgiving Day are summarily thrown out and trampled, literally overnight. Within hours of feasting and rejoicing with family and friends in expressions of gratitude, so many of us turn our backs on the very God who has blessed us with abundance. So many of us hasten, as if possessed by demons, to unrestrained selfishness, unbridled greed, and frenzied disregard for our fellow man (see Helaman 12:4-6; Alma 46:8).
Thanksgiving Day brings out the best in us. Black Friday brings out the worst. In America, people who already have many modern appliances, conveniences, and comforts that are so difficult to acquire in other parts of the world line up around the block, often before the crack of dawn, waiting anxiously for their favorite retail stores to open on Black Friday.
When the doors open and the sales begin, the crowds go mad. We stampede like cattle, tripping over each other, shoving each other without regard to age, stature, or gender. Children and elderly are disregarded. The weak and the crippled are overrun and ignored. Chivalry is dead. We fight and tread upon each other in almost psychotic desperation to get our hands on the merchandise being sold. Black Friday embodies a modern pandemic of utter lunacy.
Are we fighting for food or water or other necessities of life, to provide for our families? Are we fighting an enemy intent on stripping from us our liberty? No. We are fighting over televisions, electronic gadgets, and every variety of material possessions, none of which have any pressing role in sustaining life or liberty.
All this, just to save a few dollars, which we will more than pay in interest and late charges on our overextended indulgence of consumer debt. If we would just wait and save patiently for a few more months, we would be able to walk in, without riotous crowds or mindless herds, and buy the newer, more advanced editions of the same items we could not bear to live without on Black Friday.
With diligent practice of thrift and savings, we would be able to live within our means and purchase desired items without incurring debt. We would be able to truly enjoy the abundance available to us, having our hearts filled with gratitude.
But as history has shown, time after time, whenever a Godly experience transpires, there comes immediately afterward the Enemy of all righteousness, attempting to deceive, and vying for our worship (see Moses 1:9-23; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Luke 4:1-13).
In 1620, God brought the Pilgrims to the Promised Land, paving the way for a process that would commence upon the earth two centuries later. In 1820, God commenced the restoration of the fullness of the Gospel through the boy prophet, Joseph Smith in the Promised Land. Is there a pattern emerging here? (See 1 Peter 3:12; Alma 62:40; Alma 10:22-23.)
Two centuries after that, in 2020, will God unleash another great, delineating work upon the earth? Think about all the things that will transpire or may transpire in 2020. That year is a presidential election year in the Promised Land. That, among other things, affects the acts to be played out on the world stage (see Doctrine and Covenants 88:86-91).